I try to take photos of our garden every summer, but with XiXi's adoption, the family reunion, and just life with 5 children, the garden has been a bit neglected. Thankfully, unlike the rest of the country, we've had a very mild summer here in the Pacific Northwest, with temperatures rarely hitting 80 degrees, so the garden could handle a little neglect this year better than most. One area of our yard that's filled in nicely is right in front of the hot tub arbor. The hydrangea looks so pretty with the backdrop of clematis and akebia vine.
On the other side of the courtyard, the Altissimo rose mixes well with the Prince Charles clematis. There is also a Princess Diana clematis, but history shows that they don't mix quite as nicely.
The Autumn Sunset has put out big time this year, and has continued strong throughout the summer. As you can see in the background, we let the lawn go dormant each year, which is a nice way to say that we're too lazy to drag out the sprinklers and water it every morning. And really, it's very generous to call it lawn even on its best day. To be honest, it's more accurately a mix of dandelions, various weeds, and spindly wisps of grass. We do some things very well in the Pacific Northwest, but a lawn is definitely not one of them. With our land on a shared well, it doesn't seem right to use all the water that would be required to keep it green anyway. So, in being brown, we're really being "green", right? That's what I'll think.
As a surprise, when we came back from China, Lyle had made this beautiful trellis behind the porch swing. It makes it feel more like its own little room, an effect that will be even greater once the vines mature. I planted the clematis Montana Rubens before the trellis was even made, which I guess was a non-too-subtle hint that I wanted Lyle to get a move on it. Since then, I've also planted a Mortimer Sackler rose, which is about to bloom for the first time. I hope the flowers are more lovely than the name.
The wisteria is starting to make its move as well. I read that sometimes it takes up to seven years to bloom. Patience is not my best quality. Underneath the wisteria, I did a "lasagna" garden. It has nothing to do with food, just a layering method. That area was weedy and treacherous to mow and doing no favors to the overall look, so it had to go. I first laid down heavy cardboard donated from Costco, then some old hay, coffee grounds donated from several area Starbucks, compost, manure, topsoil, sawdust, and mulch. In just a couple of weeks it's shrunk down several inches. The idea is that the cardboard and weight will smother out the weeds and it will all break down and create lovely soil. Hopefully by then I'll have some idea of what I want to actually do with the space.
Gardening is a nearly perfect hobby for my fickle self. By the end of summer, I'm ready to hang up my trowel, and come mid-winter, I can't wait to dust it off again.